The Southern Rose Bud was one of the earliest 19th-century American children’s magazines to reprint “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” That it was reprinted “by request” points up the poem’s popularity. The Rose Bud version is unique, being broken into quatrains. The typos are also unique: the Rose Bud ’s St. Nick is “plumb” instead of “plump,” an image with a certain charm. Curiously, instead of a “little round belly,” St. Nick has a “little bright eye/ That shone on his cheek like a star in the sky”—a strangely unpleasant image. Though the identity of the author had been hinted at in 1829, Clement Clarke Moore would be revealed as the author only when “Visit” was printed in The New-York Book of Poetry in 1837.
“Account of a Visit From St. Nicholas” (from Southern Rose Bud, 28 Dec 1833; p. 72)


Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas.

’Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house,

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hope that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nested all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar plumbs danc’d in their heads.

And Mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap—

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprung from the bed to see what was the matter;

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below—

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be. St. Nick,

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:

"Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer, and Vixen,

"On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Dunder and Blixem;

"To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

"Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves before the wild hurricanes fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of toys—and St. Nicholas too.

And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof,

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound:

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnish’d with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys was flung on his back,

And he look’d like a pedler just opening his pack:

His eyes—how, they twinkled! his dimples how merry.

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

He had a broad face, and a little bright eye,

That shone on his cheek like a star in the sky;

He was chubby and plumb, a right jolly old elf,

And I laugh’d when I saw him in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And fill’d all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle:

But I head him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.


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